Sock ‘n’ Buskin Preview: The Diary of Anne Frank


Lila Caminiti, Features Editor, Senior

Theatre is an activity that depends on an audience, so how does one create a theatrical performance in a socially distanced environment? It isn’t easy, but this December, Sock ‘n’ Buskin is putting together a virtual performance of the Pulitzer Prize winning The Diary of Anne Frank, and they are framing it in a unique way. The story of two families who struggle for survival while in hiding is being touted as “the story of people in isolation, told by actors in isolation.”

“I love the idea of artists in isolation performing a play about isolation. I have chosen the original production which won the Pulitzer prize for drama.  It is beautifully written and works really well in this online format,” said English teacher Mr. Beck who is co-directing the piece with Mr. Schleifer.

Thirty-five talented students auditioned, and from that pool of talent a cast of ten were selected. Junior Malia McLellan will star as the titular character. 

In line with state restrictions, auditions were held remotely, as were rehearsals. 

“While a virtual environment may not be the ideal space for rehearsing and performing, it is something we must get accustomed to; it will definitely be interesting learning how to perform to a camera,” said cast member Allie Feldman, a senior, who will be playing Miep Gies.

Mounting a play is never an easy feat; COVID made the process even more difficult.

According to Mr. Beck, licensing was particularly difficult this year, as many plays are not legally allowed to be performed digitally. Luckily, The Diary of Anne Frank was available. 

Renowned for producing uproarious comedies like Fools and Brighton Beach Memoirs in past productions, some expressed surprise that Sock ‘n’ Buskin would mount such a serious drama, especially when most of us could use a good laugh. English teacher Mr. Schleifer was philosophical about this.

“Though it’s certainly a heavier subject, The Diary of Anne Frank is, first and foremost, a story of hope. That makes it the perfect choice for right now. It speaks to how to we can survive through challenging times, get along with people it appears one has nothing in common with, and adapt to change. The play shows that even in the worst of times, heroes emerge and teaches us how to maintain hope and remain positive. It’s important for us to remember that, as tough as things get, there’s always hope.”

The club aims to bring some sense of normalcy to the 2020-21 school year by upholding years of tradition by presenting the fall play, even if it is in a unique format this year. The medium will be digital this year, as opposed to the traditional stage viewing, with links being sold instead of tickets. The play is currently scheduled for the second weekend of December, and all interested in purchasing a link to the streamed performance can send requests to [email protected] or may purchase a link directly at: